Too small to be a bedroom and too large to be considered a closet. That is the space where I create. It is the warmest room in the apartment on the coldest days in the winter. Cluttered. Stacked high with plastic containers (unlabelled) and organized in a disorganized fashion to contain all of my supplies. I require a step stool to retrieve anything from the top. But at 5 Foot 3.5” I require a step stool for a surprising number of everyday household tasks. In order to get to the new fabric stored in the bottom bin, I have to remove the six other bins that teeter precariously on top.
The room is a landing spot for everything from library books to boxes still unpacked from the last move to trinkets carted from everywhere and everytime in my life. The room makes me feel relaxed and frazzled at the same time. The computer printer, perched on the chair next to the sewing table, always seems to have some demand for maintenance. The ‘quick guide’ manual only provides enough insight to make you want to hurl the whole thing out the window. There is a bin that exists purely to hold pens that may or may not even work. This room at times I’m certain actually distracts from the actual act of creating anything and I would change it if I didn’t have evidence that from time to time things do get made.
There are small sources of inspiration tucked into every part of this room from the walls to the floor. What seems toinspire me lately is a sort of collage or living scrapbook of past and present. The sewing table harbours two of my three sewing machines (only one of which gets regular exercise, but all must be kept because removal might cause some gargantuan shift in my craft universe). There is a stack of cds where I’ve saved every digital photo I’ve taken for the last four years with the intent of one day having some of them printed. There is a mug that holds the spoons my adventurous grandmother collected for me when I was kid from her world travels.
Hung above the sewing machines is the letter my father had framed for me for my 17th birthday. It is one of my most treasured possesssions and points to a definite obsession with history and Jackie O. The note and envelope in the frame are a sign of appreciation for the sympathy my father sent in the form of a letter to Jackie after the assassination of President Kennedy.
Above the note, I’ve hung a shelf made out of driftwood found on the shores by a cabin I called home for two summers. The shelf holds my collection of old mason jars filled with acorn tops and buttons. I admit, I’ve always loved ‘buttons’ and I’ve never been able to pronounce that word properly. So it’s a strange torture to talk about them as the two t’s always invariably come out sounding like d’s. On the right wall hangs pieces of some works in progress, doilies (because you never know when you might need one), a picture of a woman in a floral country dress cut out from a magazine that has gone with me everywhere for almost a decade, patterns to remind me of future projects and a clip holding: concert ticket stubs, instructions on heating a ‘comfort bag’, and two swatches of fabric from two separate moments of travel.
In this room I try not to think about the everyday hustle, the comings and goings and the dreaded loom of expected but somehow unexpected challenges. What point would there be having a creative space designed around what I like to call the ‘unknowables’? Here the only unknown is the exact contents of the tower of crafts.
What inspires you to create? Share with us your favourite spaces and places and the everyday or not so everyday objects that lead you to create?